CROATIA: Bill on Media is intolerable and must be fought

Extract of article published by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on 28/07/2023 – accessible here.

Croatia’s draft media law poses a significant threat to free expression. If adopted, it would ban journalists from criticising actions by the country’s courts, or the state attorney’s office, proscribe how state advertising money can be spent, require journalists to disclose their sources, and create a council for the media whose composition is in the gift of the government. It would also maintain a register of journalists entry on which would be in Government control. All these measures would undermine media freedom and damage Croatia’s international standing.

The Croatian Journalists Association (HND) did not learn of these proposals until 5 July. The task force that had been working on proposals for a new law did not adopt the proposals. It appears that the Government is trying to pass these proposals unnoticed. 

The International and the European Federations of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) strongly condemn the blatant attempt of the Croatian government to stifle the media. The federations join the fight with their affiliate the HND and other unions and journalists to establish a right to media freedom in a country where already so little of it remains. 

These proposals would impose unprecedented restrictions on the media effectively removing the ability of journalists to express opinions diverging from the official narrative. Doing this imperils Croatian democracy.